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Fall of Giants Audiobook

Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

Fall of Giants is Ken Follett's magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits…. Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House…. Two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…. Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London….

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the 20th century, changing themselves—and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

Exclusive interview: Ken Follett and John Lee Talk about Fall of Giants.

©2010 Kevin Follett (P)2010 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"A big Book, Follett''s hugely ambitious saga is a sweeping success. Ken Follett has hit another one out of the park with the initial installment of the hugely ambitious Century Trilogy. His fans will rejoice at the richness, complexity, historical sweep and simmering lust in a saga spanning the years 1911 to 1923." (Newark Star Ledger)

"A dark novel, motivated by an unsparing view of human nature and a clear-eyed scrutiny of an ideal peace. It is not the least of Follett''s feats that the reader finishes this near 1000-page book intrigued and wanting more." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"[Follett] meticulously reconstructs an era and leads us through the follies and occasional heroics of its protagonists real and imaginary. He is masterly in conveyers so much drama and historical information so vividly...Grippingly told, and readable to the end." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Roland MacInnis 12-05-12

    Rollie

    ratings
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    "Good story, well read."
    Would you listen to Fall of Giants again? Why?

    No,it's not my practice.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Captures accents and dialects well.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm going to read all three books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steffey 12-05-12
    Steffey 12-05-12
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    42
    7
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    "Detailed"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. The story is an entwined history lesson.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    His ability to capture the different accents of the different families.


    Any additional comments?

    I believe I would listen to it twice to take in more of the history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda L. B. Pekin, Illinois 12-02-12
    Rhonda L. B. Pekin, Illinois 12-02-12 Member Since 2016

    ~Rhonda, aka the Slowpoke Colorista ;)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The start of something awesome!"
    What made the experience of listening to Fall of Giants the most enjoyable?

    Following the thread of so many different people's stories.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Maud! I loved following her story so much because she was just a spunky character and I enjoy that. But to be honest? There wasn't a character that I didn't enjoy hearing about.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    He was easy to listen to and he didn't pull me out of the story with weird vocal things.


    If you could take any character from Fall of Giants out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    This is kind of a silly question and why would the answer make anyone want to listen to it?


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoyed Ken Follett's other works, you will enjoy this! If you like historical fiction? You will love this. If you are just wanting to try something outside of your usual range (if you aren't a historical fiction fan) give this a try and it just might surprise you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 12-02-12
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 12-02-12 Member Since 2016

    Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Learn and enjoy!"

    I absolutely loved this book. I just listened to it a second time, and it reminded me of why I'm such a fan of Ken Follett. He makes history engaging and not at all boring. I totally get sucked in when I get started. John Lee has a wonderful voice and was a great choice for narrator. Mr Follett's stories are just meant for John Lee's narration. I loved the two previous titanic historical novels Mr Follett wrote and am so grateful for his research and dedication, plus his ability to write a story that keeps me snared.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Ottawa, ON, Canada 12-01-12
    Lee Ottawa, ON, Canada 12-01-12 Member Since 2014

    Avid Audible listener, I have a long commute to work and these books help to quickly pass the time.

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    "Awful"
    What disappointed you about Fall of Giants?

    I was hoping for an interesting weave of history of the time and a narrative, the political history description was well done in my opinion, but what was annoyingly distracting about the story were the adolescent sex scenes in the book. Really?The description of the sexual encounter at the opera was simply tacky and the wedding night romp in which the marriage could no be consummated because of size issues was laughable. It was at that point I put the book down.I'll admit I am not normally drawn to books with strong sexual content, but I have no problem with them either. I was drawn to this book because I believed the setting of the book,pre-World War I era, were intriguing times, and I wanted to immerse myself in a book of that subject, and the narrative to boot would make the book even more compelling. But the sex in this book read like something you would read on a public bathroom stall wall. I read Eye of the Needle years ago and loved it, but the sex scenes in this book were really pointless and, frankly, childish. Beware this book.


    What could Ken Follett have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    make the sex scenes not so ridiculous and adolescent


    Would you listen to another book narrated by John Lee?

    Yes


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    embarrassment


    Any additional comments?

    Can I get my money back?-Just kidding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naomi Riverdale, NY, US Minor Outlying Islands 12-01-12
    Naomi Riverdale, NY, US Minor Outlying Islands 12-01-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "History lives, but the characters don't."
    What made the experience of listening to Fall of Giants the most enjoyable?

    Do you remember how World War I started? Something about a Grand Duke assassinated in Sarajevo and the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente, but how did shooting an Austrian grand duke lead to Prussia going to war with England and France, for Pete's sake? And why the US? Something about a Zimmerman note, whatever that was. Ken Follett makes this all live. Even though I knew that (spoiler alert) WWI was going to happen and that the US was going to join, and that it was going to be ghastly, horrible trench warfare, I still found it fascinating to watch history unfold. The various characters discussed the possible outcomes but events followed their own dreadful logic.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Most of the scenes in this book are 1. battles (street battles, trench warfare, whatever), 2. bodice-ripping love/sex, or 3. political discussions in which each of the (wooden) characters represents the ideas that would be expected of him or her. For example, we have the liberal young German diplomat and his traditionalist father; the conservative young British Earl and his bluestocking, suffagist sister; the liberal, young American presidential aide; and the Russian proletarian revolutionary and his ne'er-do-well brother. BUT, at the very beginning of the book, we meet the 13-year-old Welsh miner Billy Williams and live with him through his first day in the mine. We learn about Billy, his family, the mine, and his fellow miners and townsmen. I wish the rest of the book had been this vivid.


    Who was the most memorable character of Fall of Giants and why?

    Yeah, right. After that first scene everything fades into types and cliches: liberal vs conservative; working class vs aristocrat; English, German Welsh, Russian, or American, male or female. Follet is, however, a skillful story teller and provides us with enough background on each character so that we can understand something about why they feel the way they do. The brutality of the Russia under the czars and the thinking that gave rise to this brutality is particularly well evoked.


    Any additional comments?

    Ken Follett took on a very ambitious project -- to tell the story of the 20th century in Europe and North America by telling the history of 5 families. So it's not War and Peace. It's still a fun listen. John Lee does a marvelous job of characterizing the speech pattern of each individual and that helps to individualize the characters. He is capable of switching accents from line to line. I particularly love his Welsh lilt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Happy Camp, CA, United States 11-29-12
    Robert Happy Camp, CA, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2015
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    "The best"

    Ken Follett brings history to life. His research into the causes and human motivations that bring war to our world are first-rate. Follett has become my favorite historical fiction author.
    John Lee is nothing short of amazing as he brings the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam SAN MARINO, CALIFORNIA, United States 11-28-12
    Miriam SAN MARINO, CALIFORNIA, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2017
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    "fall of follett"
    Would you try another book from Ken Follett and/or John Lee?

    loved john lee. Amazing multiple accents.As for one of my favorite authors: Follett took a nose dive.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Fewer characters, less complicated plots.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    walter


    Did Fall of Giants inspire you to do anything?

    yes, not finish it.


    Any additional comments?

    I would rate all of his other books, good or very good. This was extremely boring.Too much talk and not enough action.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan Webber Houston, TEXAS United States 11-28-12
    Allan Webber Houston, TEXAS United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Entertainment for 30 hours"

    I normally listen to factual History books and was in the mood for some fiction. Based on prior reviews, I took a chance with "Fall of Giants" not knowing anything about the author. I was thrilled with my purchase.

    The story starts in South Wales prior to 1st world war and rapidly introduces you to different characters that will keep coming up throughout the period that span different geographic regions of Europe, Russia and US and it's sociological changes.

    It is a long listen, which was good for me as I travel a lot, but the many chapters are brief so it was easy to listen for short periods without loosing tract.

    I will listen to the next book as the next generation pick up the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jalel Sarasota, FL, United States 11-26-12
    Jalel Sarasota, FL, United States 11-26-12
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    "A stunning book to read."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Fall of Giants to be better than the print version?

    I prefer audio books. More comfortable for sure and I eat books faster when I listen to them.


    What other book might you compare Fall of Giants to and why?

    The books I know are all classics. Can not compare the uncomparable.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. This is a discovery for me.


    Who was the most memorable character of Fall of Giants and why?

    I like Billy. We see him grow from innocence to experience gradually.


    Any additional comments?

    I like Audible. :) Honestly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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